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Boys basketball: Skyler Moss becoming a force inside for Andrean

Andrean senior Skyler Moss left Griffith junior Rodney Lewis go for loose ball during their game Friday Jan. 25 2013

Andrean senior Skyler Moss, left, and Griffith junior Rodney Lewis go for a loose ball during their game Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, at Andrean High School in Merrillville, Ind. | Scott M. Bort~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 10, 2013 6:37AM



Charles Barkley and Skyler Moss. Carmelo Anthony and Skyler Moss.

It’s true what you’ve heard — with models like that, the sky is the limit for Moss, a burly, 6-foot-4, 230-pound forward/center who is the main presence inside for a guard-oriented Andrean squad.

“Actually, I like two players,” Moss said. “ Charles Barkely because of the way he finished at the rim and Carmelo Anthony because of how he can post up. I want to rebound like Charles and hit the midrange jumpers like Carmelo.”

Moss’ play this year is one of the reasons the 59er’s have — at least during the first three quarters of the season — moved to a different level of good. They are currently 14-2 with big wins over Merrillville and Bowman. They are 3-2 against teams from the state that have a top 50 RPI.

Next week, of course, the 59ers are set for the game of their regular season when they play Munster at home. The Mustangs haven’t lost in the Northwest Crossroads Conference since 2006 when Andrean beat them. That’s 35 straight wins.

Chances are, Moss will be ready to play. Moss has had some of his best performances in the biggest games. He finished with 13 points and five rebounds against Merrillville, 16 points and 10 rebounds against Bowman and 14 points and seven rebounds against Penn.

For the most part, Moss has played consistently all year. He is averaging 13.8 points and 6.4 rebounds for the 59ers. He is the second leading scorer on the team (Nick Davidson averages 22.6 points).

Moss’ play on offense and defense has boosted the 59er’s performance level.

“He is really locked in defensively and he’s a lot more athletic than he was last year as a whole,” Andrean coach Carson Cunningham said.

Moss has improved physically because he’s in better shape.

He lost 17 pounds last summer. It melted off when he went hard in his first full year in Cunningham’s conditioning program. Moss transferred to Andrean from Portage in the summer of 2011.

“I just got pushed a little harder and it helped me,” Moss said of the conditioning.

Getting a year in the 59er’s system also has made him a better player.

Moss started on-and-off last year, but he was hurt for much of the last half season with tendonitis in his knee. The injury, a nagging one, affected him even when he did play.

In some ways, the pressure was on Moss to produce this year. They have plenty of interchangeable parts — Davidson is a big (6-4) point guard who rebounds well; Collin Wojcik (6-4) is athletic and a great shooter; Matt Ruberry (6-4), Sam Torporski (6-4) and Dan Keilman (6-4) are all similar players with similar skills.

Moss is the one-true back-to-the-basket player on the team with physical size to burn.

Even when Josh James, a 6-10 forward/center, played last year, he was just as inclined to play outside as he was to mix it up inside. James earned a scholarship to IUPUI.

Moss’ game, which includes a deadly spin move that many people who aren’t used to watching it think is a travel (it isn’t), brings a total different dimension to the 59ers’ offensive attack.

“He’s really tough to handle inside and he’s very quick,” Cunningham said.

Moss shrugs off the inside offensive side of his game, saying that the 59ers have enough similar parts that scoring close to the basket isn’t really an issue for them. Davidson is the king of barreling inside and drawing fouls or getting to the hoop.

And Wojcik isn’t afraid of the contact.

Moss’ main focus is on the boards.

“We have a lot of reversible parts,” he said. “That’s what makes our team good. But I do take responsibility for getting the rebounds.”



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